This is some fucked up shit. Misogynistic and necrophilic fucked up shit. With illustrations. My inner feminist is vibrating with rage and is drawing...moreThis is some fucked up shit. Misogynistic and necrophilic fucked up shit. With illustrations. My inner feminist is vibrating with rage and is drawing disturbing comparisons with serial killer Elliot Rodger.
The meathouse is a whorehouse whose 'whores' are dead women, most of whom are former criminals and debtors although some have been kidnapped and killed precisely to be commodified by transforming them into brainless undead prostitutes. Outside of the meathouses, corpses are used as workers directed by handlers (read: puppeteers), similar to what The People do with vampires in Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series. The entertainment industry is dominated by corpse fights like the gladiators of old, their handlers manipulating them like 3-D real world video game characters.
Greg succumbs to peer pressure by patronising a meathouse where he falls in love with a coprse-whore and thus begins an obsession. The explicit artwork of this graphic novel makes it all the sicker. Necrophilic rape porn imagery is not something I want to see. And the illustrations aren't even good - it's quite grotesque actually, although that may be intentional.
Anyway, Greg decides he deserves better than an undead woman and proceeds to wait for a living, breathing woman. He meets one, he falls in love and she rejects him. He moves to another planet, meets a woman, falls in love, they're happy for a time, then she dumps him for his best friend. From here on out he hates women. Love is a cruel lie. He turns to the occupation he once shunned: gladiator-corpse handler. Turns out he's excellent at bloodily dismantling his opponents from the comfort of his 'throne' as the crowds cheer him on.
I know George R.R. Martin is a man who loves to write controversial storylines. A Song of Fire and Ice gets a pass in my eyes due to historical and cultural accuracy. Meathouse Man, on the other hand, is set in the distant future when man has colonized multiple planets. One would hope such pervasive and socially acceptable misogyny and disrespect for the dead would be but a distant memory by this time.
I'm shocked and disappointed that this is a 2014 Hugo Award Best Graphic Novel Nominee.
*Read for free via the LonCon3 Hugo Voter Pack.(less)
Polar bears in drag. Zombie birds. Pink glass dogs. Baum's politically incorrect fairy tales have them all. Stereotypical Italian criminals aside, I e...morePolar bears in drag. Zombie birds. Pink glass dogs. Baum's politically incorrect fairy tales have them all. Stereotypical Italian criminals aside, I enjoyed these stories of bargains gone wrong and villains reaping what they sow, with morals preaching against the seven deadly sins.
★★★☆☆ The Box of Robbers Think Pandora's Box with the demonisation of female curiosity. Instead of plagues we have Italian robbers who once released, set about doing what they do best.
"It is rather hard to get positions in the gas office," she said, "but you might become politicians."
"No!" cried Beni, with sudden fierceness; "we must not abandon our high calling. Bandits we have always been, and bandits we must remain!"
Haha! Bandit is certainly a more respectable profession than politician.
★★★★★ The Glass Dog Bargaining, how not to do it. And the downside of vanity and greed. A complex tale sparked off by a wizard's animated pink glass dog. My favourite story.
★★★★★ The Queen of Quok A 10-year-old boy king is forced into an arranged marriage when his royal aids auction off the title of Queen to a rich woman to fill the pockets of his greedy, spendthrift hangers-on.
"Can't I marry a mother, instead?" asked the poor little king, who had lost his mother when a baby.
"Certainly not," declared the counselor. "To marry a mother would be illegal; to marry a wife is right and proper."
Aww. Poor child.
The king was so disturbed at the thought that he must marry this hideous creature that he began to wail and weep; whereupon the woman boxed his ears soundly. But the counselor reproved her for punishing her future husband in public, saying:
"You are not married yet. Wait until to-morrow, after the wedding takes place. Then you can abuse him as much as you wish. But at present we prefer to have people think this is a love match."
A love match? Between a decrepit old woman and a 10-year-old boy? I love that this tale swaps stereotypical gender and age expectations. You'd expect an old man to marry a girl-child rather than vice versa.
My second favourite tale.
★★☆☆☆ The Girl Who Owned a Bear Illustrations come to life and leap off the pages of a book opened by a little girl after it was given to her as a revenge gift aimed at her father. One of them, a bear, tries to eat the girl. She claims ownership of him as her name is on the book. If she owns the book, she owns the bear. This uncomfortably brought to mind the horrors of slavery.
★★★☆☆ The Enchanted Types The slavery theme is continued here. Animal cruelty in the name of fashion. Those poor zombie birds. Interfering with alien cultural norms is tricky.
★★★★☆ The Laughing Hippopotamus Slavery again. A man captures a young hippo prince and coerces him into accepting a bargain: release on condition of promising to return to the man when the hippo reaches adulthood, to be slaughtered or enslaved. Bondage doesn't sit well and the slaver faces the same fate he issued to the hippo.
★★★☆☆ The Magic Bon Bons Don't judge someone based on transient unusual behaviour. And don't be careless with what you value as precious.
★☆☆☆☆ The Capture of Father Time Although I didn't enjoy this tale of a child capturing Father Time, effectively stopping time, and then proceeding to engineer pranks for when time starts again, I can see this may have been a new concept back in 1901.
★★★☆☆ The Wonderful Pump Everyone's heard of the crass, ostentatious displays of New Money. By showing off you risk others stealing what you have. Be grateful for what you have and don't be greedy for more.
★☆☆☆☆ The Dummy That Lived A shop mannequin is brought to life at the whim of a fae and is absolutely clueless about the world and everything in it. Again, this was probably a relatively new idea at the time of publication but I didn't enjoy it.
★★★☆☆ The King of the Polar Bears Don't judge polar bears dressed in drag. He's no less a respectable polar bear for covering himself with feathers.
★★☆☆☆ The Mandarin and The Butterfly Karma justly rewards a racist for his actions against children.(less)
Okay, so Hannibal isn't in it but there is a mysterious yet creepy girl-child who doesn't mind munch...moreLooks at title.
Hannibal, is that you?
Okay, so Hannibal isn't in it but there is a mysterious yet creepy girl-child who doesn't mind munching on meat of the two-legged, walking, talking variety . . . while they're still alive. (Anyone else thinking of the Eddie Izzard scene in Hannibal when he's forced to eat his own thigh?) The main character really kidnapped the wrong kids. Nothing goes his way.
*Free short story from Audible, perhaps a little too short for me.(less)
Human beings tend to cling to convenient obliviousness - 'I haven't seen it, so it can't really exist!' - in spite of embarrassing, burgeoning bodies of evidence to the contrary. In order for this comfortable bliss of ignorance to be maintained, it follows that any flagging up of the problem will be met with denial: so naturally you get accusations of lying, or exaggeration. These aren't always intentionally unkind - I think they're often motivated by a horrified inability to accept the severity of the problem as by a deliberate attempt at dismissal.- Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism
This quote explains perfectly the ignoring of all the warning signs in The Plague, especially by Dr. Rieux and his colleagues. A stampeding immigration of thousands of infected, dying rats doesn't raise an alarm, really?!
A riveting 100-page opener filled with realistic personal, medical, social, and legal observations and their emotional repercussions was followed by an increasingly introspective and philosophical narrative and dialogue. Unfortunately I wasn't as enamoured with the slower paced latter than I was the action-packed former. However, it does perfectly reflect the tiresome nature of the plague: being imprisoned in the town under quarantined conditions, unable to leave or communicate with the outside world, separating friends and family.
The stifling heat of summer, the inescapable smell of burning bodies and the only news of note being the number of dead that day, becomes insufferable, but the people must endure for they have no choice. All emotions are heightened in the face of the apocalyptic nature of the plague, randomly killing everyone around you - fear, depression, desperation. One could've even take solace in their pets as they're exterminated in case they spread the disease, which deprives one old man of his favourite pastime - spitting on cats. (Haha! Sorry, I'm a dog-person.)
This story of triumph and tragedy covers 8 months (Apr 16 to Jan 25) and is set in 1940s Algeria, and by the end I was just as exhausted and tired of the plague as Oran's residents, Dr. Rieux especially.
*Read the translation by Robin Buss. **Read as part of The Dead Writers Society's Around the World challenge.(less)